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Holly LaFon
Holly LaFon
Articles (7929) 

Edward Lampert Makes Reductions to AutoNation

November 05, 2012 | About:

Though manager of hedge fund ESL Investments, Eddie Lampert, had been steadily chiseling down his stake in AutoNation (NYSE:AN) since the first quarter of 2010, he made his first reduction of this year in a series of transactions from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2, according to GuruFocus Real Time Picks. The total amount sold was 763,507 shares, which shrank his holding size by 1.59 percent. The average selling price was about $44 per share.

Lampert’s stake in AutoNation grew to almost 80 million shares at its largest in the first quarter of 2009, when the price was around $11 per share. He began selling in the first quarter of 2010, and has reduced the holding to a total of about 47.3 million shares, or 39.19 percent of the company.

AutoNation is the largest automotive retailer in the U.S., with 258 new vehicle franchises in 15 states, and is based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Its business in the first nine months of 2012 produced net income of $233.2 million, or $1.84 per share, from $212 million, or $1.42 per share, in the first nine months of 2011. Revenue increased 13.2 percent to $11.5 billion from $10.2 billion.

The company reported sales increases in each of its segments: domestic, import and premium luxury, as the general environment for auto sales improved. In the third quarter, total U.S. industry retail new vehicle unit sales rose 14 percent, according to CNW Research. AutoNation’s retail new vehicle unit sales increased 21 percent quarter over quarter.

The positive trend continued in October, in which AutoNation reported a 13 percent increase in sales, compared to October of 2011.

AutoNation’s stock has gained almost 18 percent year to date.

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